May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a national project to encourage vehicles and motorcyclists to “share the road” with each other.
Motorcycle fatalities represent 14% of total highway deaths annually, despite motorcycle registrations representing only about 3% of all vehicles in the United States. Improving cooperation between all road users and motorcyclists will help to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways.
The Oregon Department of Transportation reminds drivers of cars, trucks and buses to look out for motorcycle riders, and offers these safety tips for drivers:
- Allow a motorcyclist the full lane width—never try to share a lane.
- Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections. (This goes for bicycles, too).
- Signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- Allow more following distance, three or four seconds, when following a motorcycle.
About 50% of Oregon motorcycle fatalities are single-vehicle, so motorcyclists have responsibilities, too. Obeying the same traffic laws as other motor vehicles, never riding while impaired, and always wearing a helmet can go a long way towards a safe ride.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re on four wheels or two; we all have to do our part to share the road safely,” said Michele O’Leary, Motorcycle Safety Program manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation.